65 terms

AP English Davila: Drama Terms

Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing (fifth edition) X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia Pearson-Longman ISBN: 0-321-47577-1

Terms in this set (...)

work of storytelling in which actors represent the characters
exchanges of speech
pantomime (dumb show)
mimed dramatic performance whose purpose is to prepare the audience for the main action of the play to follow
form of literary composition designed for performance in the theater
closet drama
play or dramatic poem designed to be read aloud rather than performed
any established feature or technique in literature that is commonly understood by both authors and readers
a speech by a character alone onstage in which he or she utters his or her thoughts aloud
generally recurring subject or idea conspicuously evident in a literary work
particular arrangement of actions, events and situations that unfold in a narrative
central character in a literary work
opening portion of a narrative or drama
technique of arranging events and information in such a way that later events are prepared for, or shadowed, beforehand
dramatic question
primary unresolved issue in a drama as it unfolds
double plot (subplot)
second story or plotline that is complete and interesting in its own right
moment of greatest intensity in a story, which almost inevitably occurs toward the end of the work
resolution (conclusion or dénouement)
final part of a narrative, the concluding action or actions that follow the climax
enjoyable anxiety created in the reader by the author's handling of the plot
stage business
nonverbal action that engages the attention of the audience
rising action
part of the play or narrative, including the exposition, in which events start moving toward a climax
point in a drama when the crucial action, decision or realization must be made, marking the turning point of the protagonist's fortunes
falling action
events in a narrative that follow the climax and bring the story to its conclusion
three formal qualities recommended by Italian Renaissance literary to critics to unify a plot in order to give it a cohesive and complete integrity
person, place or thing in a narrative that suggests meanings beyond its literal sense
central struggle between two or more forces in a story
tragic flaw
fatal weakness or moral flaw in the protagonist that brings him or her to a bad end
literary work aimed at amusing an audience
satiric comedy
genre using derisive humor to ridicule human weakness and folly or attack political injustices and incompetence
high comedy
comic genre evoking so-called intellectual or thoughtful laughter from an audience that remains emotionally detached from the play's depictions of the folly, pretense and incongruity of human behavior
very short poem, often comic, usually ending with some sharp turn of wit or meaning
comedy of manners
realistic form of comic drama that deals with social relations and sexual intrigues of sophisticated, intelligent, upper-class men and women, whose verbal fencing and witty repartee produce the principal comic effects
Restoration period
In England, the period following the restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660; reintroduced a strong secular and urbane element back into English literature
low comedy
comic style arousing laughter through jokes, slapstick humor, sight gags and boisterous clowning
incongruous imitation of either the style or subject matter of a serious genre, humorous due to disparity of the treatment of the subject
commedia dell'arte
form of comic drama developed by guilds of professional Italian actors in the mid-sixteenth century
slapstick comedy
kind of farce, featuring pratfalls, pie throwing, fisticuffs and other violent actions
romantic comedy
form of comic drama in which the plot focuses on one or more pairs of young lovers who overcome difficulties to achieve a happy ending
satyr play
type of Greek comic play that was performed after the tragedies at the City Dionysia; structure was similar to a tragedy
circular level performance space at the base of a horseshoe-shaped amphitheater where twelve, then later fifteen, young, masked, male chorus members sang and danced the odes interspersed between the dramatic episodes
temporary wooden stage building in which actors changed masks and costumes when changing roles
incident in a large narrative that has unity in itself
last scene
full facial masks made of leather, linen or light wood, with headdress; allowed male actors to embody the conventionalized characters of the tragic and comic stage
high thick-soled boots worn by Greek and Roman tragic actors in late classical times to make them appear taller than ordinary men
offense committed in ignorance of some material fact (without deliberate criminal intent) and therefore free of blameworthiness
overweening pride, outrageous behavior or the insolence that leads to ruin
purgation (katharsis)
purification; refers to the feeling of emotional release or calm the spectator feels at the end of a tragedy
the moment when ignorance gives way to knowledge, illusion to disillusion
reversal (peripeteia)
reversal of fortune
attempt to reproduce faithfully the surface appearance of life, especially that of ordinary people in everyday situations
picture-frame stage
held the action within a proscenium arch; only one seat (royal patron or sponsor) enjoyed complete perspectivist illusion
proscenium arch
architectural picture frame or gateway that separated the auditorium from the raised stage and the world of the play
box set
three walls joined in two corners and a ceiling that tilted as if in perspective
type of fiction or drama in which the characters are presented as products or victims of environment and heredity
Symbolist movement
international literary movement that originated with nineteenth-century French poets; avoided direct statement and exposition in an attempt to achieve a resemblance of music
dramatic style developed between 1910 and 1924 in Germany; used episodic plots, distorted lines and exaggerated shapes to draw an audience into a dreamlike subjective realm
arena theater (theater in the round)
modern, nontraditional performance space in which the audience surrounds the stage on four sides
flexible theater
modern, nontraditional performance space in which actor-audience relationships can be flexibly configured, with movable seating platforms
protagonist who is lacking in one or more of the conventional qualities attributed to a hero
comic relief
appearance of a comic situation, character or clownish humor in the midst of a serious action
theater of the absurd
post World War II European genre depicting the grotesquely comic plight of human beings thrown by accident into an irrational and meaningless world
feminist theater
plays which explore the lives, problems and occasional triumphs of contemporary women
new naturalism
term describing some American plays of the 1970s and 1980s frankly showing the internal and external forces that shape the lives of unhappy, alienated, dehumanized and often impoverished characters
play that stirs not only pity and fear but also laughter
song for the entrance of the chorus